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Building Meaningful Connections with Your Kids

I was recently fortunate enough to join an informative discussion with Dove that centred around how to create meaningful connections with your kids and in doing so build their confidence and self-esteem.

Teaching kids about confidence and self-esteem is often something we take for granted. We assume if we are confident, they will just also be confident and assured. Unfortunately, there is a little bit more that goes into it than that. It is not enough for us as parents to simple model confidence we actually have to work on actively engaging our children in conversations that empower them and equip them with these valuable life skills.

The #DoveDayAtHome event was a part of the Dove Self Esteem Project. This project aims to help children to feel more empowered and feel included. The aim of the project is to help a quarter of a billion children by 2030.

We heard from 3 parents who shared their lessons and ideas on how we can improve our relationships with our kids and ultimate build a meaningful connection with them.

Sthandiwe Kgoroge highlighted the power of words and had her daughter with her to really show just how much words can make or break a child. She said that parents are like life jackets – they can either build their children up or they can destroy them through the words that they use.

She went on to share some really valuable tips on how you can use words to help build your child up.

  • Conversations need to happen early on. Don’t wait until your child is a pre-teen or is being bullied to have conversations about body positivity or confidence, start these conversations early on.
  • Teach your child to recognise their feelings and empower them to have the courage to call out harmful words.
  • Representation is essential. It is important for your child to see people who look and sound like they do. When your child can see people like them, they feel like they are different and that is not always a good thing.
  • Words of affirmation are incredibly powerful Sthandiwe and her daughter say the following affirmation every single morning.

I am beautiful

I am brave

I am creative

I am kind

I am smart

Terence Mentor (aka Afrodaddy) also had some really invaluable tips to share on how to really connect with your child.

Don’t try to be their BFF. The first point Terence made was that it is ok to not be your child’s friend. In fact, you goal should not be to be their friend. I have a close relationship with all four of children, even the teens but we are not bff’s. It is possible to have a good relationship with your child without being their best friend.

Let them direct the play. This can be tough but let your child tell you how they want to play, don’t try to take over. If you are constantly directing play, they will learn that what they want to do doesn’t have value.

Acknowledge their ideas. When your child with the biggest imagination starts sharing their ideas, they may sound crazy but listen, acknowledge them, and give them a try. When you acknowledge their ideas, you are telling them that you value their input.

Don’t undermine their feelings. If you child feels anger, let them feel that, even if you can’t really understand what made them angry. Talk to them, let them explain why they feel the way they do, avoid undermining those feelings, rather acknowledge them and let them feel them.

Talk things through. When you hit a bump, take the time to talk about their feelings, share your feelings and together work through those emotions and if necessary find a solution that will work for both of you.

Be their safe space. When your child hits an obstacle, are you the first person they go to or the last person? It is so important that your child knows, with certainty, that you will be there for them no matter what. You may not always agree with or condone the choices they have made but you will always be there for them.

It was such an informative session and even though I have been a parent for 18 years, I am still learning and growing as a parent.

Dove also has a whole host of free resources for you to download and sue when you need to. You can find all of these resources on the Dove website.

COMPETITION TIME

To help you navigate this journey I have a box of awesomeness from Dove up for grabs. This box of goodies is valued at R2000 and is a great way to help you start building your child’s self-esteem.

To Enter:

Leave a comment telling me the favourite thing you and your child do together.

Competition closes on the 16 November and my usual T&C’s apply!

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18 Comments

  1. 12 November, 2020 / 10:24 am

    My absolute favourite thing to do with my 2 boys is to get messy whilst playing. They adore playing with mud and sand. Building mud castles and making mud tracks to play on with their cars has to be by far my favourite

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    • Anu Naidoo
      18 November, 2020 / 8:21 am

      Little Evelyn is 6 years old and we both enjoy doing arts and Crafts together whilst sitting in the garden. It’s great fun , quality time , being creative and making little treasures which we can keep for years together such as key rings bookmarkers, mosaics and sand art.

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  2. Gresham Madhan
    12 November, 2020 / 1:17 pm

    I noticed my little one is rather shy at times. However she loves cooking and has the ability to create some mouthwatering meals at her young age of 6. I encourage her to spend more time in the kitchen so that her confidence grows and so does her culinary skills…

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  3. 13 November, 2020 / 12:44 am

    No need to count me in on the contest, I just wanted to add my thoughts πŸ™‚

    First off, loved your post. Beautiful ideas and I like how you emphasize starting early with your children to help normalize the conversation and make them feel safe in sharing their feelings.

    Affirmations of self-worth are so important and this idea that you share leads to the conversation with your child (depending on their age) that thoughts are things and can impact the way we feel. Paying attention to our thoughts can help identify the ones that don’t serve us and this process can help a child begin living a bit more consciously.

    Now, that idea may seem a bit complicated for some. So, I thought I would add a recommendation from my own personal experience that may be a bit more relatable.

    My son, Jake, has been teaching me to play the guitar for the last few weeks. He’s already taught me 6 chords and I’m kinda getting the hang of it πŸ™‚

    The self-esteem that I have seen develop in my son, just from these sweet little lessons together, has been fascinating. He’s so much more confident and calm around the house. He’s “in charge” of this specific activity I do with him and that sense of control gives him a feeling of self-responsibility. It’s been such a beautiful lesson in parenting that I recently learned.

    Let your children guide you. Let them teach you.

    How to draw, how to play, how to imagine — anything.

    Their trust for you will grow by leaps and bounds and the love you share will be palpable as soon as you see the pride beam over their face.

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  4. Nivashini Thaver
    18 November, 2020 / 7:05 am

    My 12 year old and I have such a close bond. Our favourite thing to talk about and learn together is about the solar system. We love all things sci-fi too. From reading of books together or watching a documentary, its our thing together. My 4 year old and I have a totally different bond. We are true gamers of note. From tech to board games its our time. The three of us together often go (pre-covid) on mother daughters day. We get our hair done, some shopping and a meal together. I choose spending time with them more especially over anything else. Im raising two amazing little girls who brighten up my life every day πŸ’“

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  5. wendy
    18 November, 2020 / 7:58 am

    My nephew and I go for dates and enjoy carrot cake and milkshake and awesome conversations together.

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  6. Kelly Jennings
    18 November, 2020 / 8:13 am

    We draw together and read together

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  7. Nasika Baijnath
    18 November, 2020 / 8:38 am

    My daughters and I really enjoy our time together.we cook, bake, play games, build crafts, clean up and listen to each other sharing crazy stories. We have no family around us so we are all that we have.

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  8. Janel
    18 November, 2020 / 10:10 am

    I have 2 little girls aged 8 and one soon to be 6. We love spending time in the kitchen cooking ans baking. Its our way of bondingπŸ’“

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  9. Chantell
    18 November, 2020 / 10:28 am

    My self and ny dauggter have a hugr age gap one of 20 and one of 4 we luuuv taking selfies together

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  10. Sue
    18 November, 2020 / 11:20 am

    During lockdown I exercised at home & little did I know, my 8 year old was watching my every move. Surprisingly he joined in especially when I didn’t yoga sesh & ever since then we exercise together β€οΈβ€οΈπŸ§˜β€β™€οΈπŸ§˜β€β™‚οΈ

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  11. 18 November, 2020 / 11:26 am

    We bake cookies together

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  12. 18 November, 2020 / 1:08 pm

    The favorite thing me and my girls do are baking cookies and doing arts and craft. Always something to keep us busy and entertained. Even though they are 11years old and 5 years old they interact perfectly during these activities.

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  13. Tania Brewis
    18 November, 2020 / 2:07 pm

    My daughters and I, aged 6 and 9 love to bake together. We bake anything sweet and while cooking my 9 year old would help chopping vegetables for me. Other times we build puzzles together or play board games. We love doing everything together, shopping included. πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜‰

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  14. 18 November, 2020 / 7:56 pm

    My kids love helping me to bake and cook. Holidays are for crafts and sometimes to make them feel extra special we have a pamper day… Who doesn’t like smelling like essential oils and relaxing?

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  15. 19 November, 2020 / 9:11 am

    We love going for nature walks with my son. He is 2 and a half. Before he could talk much, we missed our nature walk. he pulled my hand to the room. Asked for shoes, a jacket and his hat, pulled my hand to the door and off we went for a nature walk.

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  16. Catherine
    19 November, 2020 / 8:46 pm

    Three kids – three different things.
    Eldest 19 – we watch certain shows together
    Next 16 daughter – DIY beauty hacks
    Last but not least – 12 daughter – my gardening and herb partner we potter around in the garden.

    0

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